Creating a culture where employees feel seen, heard and valued doesn’t happen overnight.
We want our employees to feel empowered to shape the conversation and environment around issues close to their hearts that affect their daily lives, which is why active Employee Resource Groups (ERG), such as our LGBTQ+ group, are so vital in an inclusive business. To help these cross-country coalitions to drive real progress with recognition, this year we formally announced that 10% of ERG leaders’ paid time will be spent on ERG work.
To celebrate Pride Month, which is in its 50th year, members of our LGBTQ+ employee group share their views on the importance of this annual platform for visibility and awareness-raising.
René Milla, Customer Marketing Co-ordinator in Mexico City and LGBTQ+ ERG member, talks about his own experience:
“Until a year ago, I did not participate in the month of diversity. The less visibility I had, the safer I felt, but today I reflect and realise the importance of being visible and talking about diversity, hoping that people can see beyond sexual preferences or lifestyles that there is a person with many more relevant things to share. I feel grateful to be able to work in a company like Tate & Lyle where respect is a core value and I appreciate the interest in building diverse communities and a better work environment.
“Respect is a form of support that helps people to have mental health and a better lifestyle. In my adolescence and part of my youth, the subject of diversity was prohibited - or at least it was in the circles I moved- and because of that, I stopped enjoying many things in life. I share this because I am convinced that responsibly making diversity visible will make a better place for those who come after me, giving them many of the opportunities that I did not have.”
Tammy Reinhart, Global Marketing Leader in Sycamore, Illinois, and LGBTQ+ NOAM Regional Chapter Lead for Tate & Lyle’s ERG Leadership Team:
“The mission of our group is to create a positive and safe environment for teammates of the Tate & Lyle LGBTQ+ community across the globe and there is no better time than Pride Month to draw attention to this. The fundamental belief that no one should be treated differently for any reason holds such strong meaning for me. Like many people, I have been witness to unfair treatment and bias affecting friends and family members and sadly I was not always brave enough to speak up in the moment.
“To be a true ally, I know I must act! I am work in progress and while I consider myself an ally for the LGBTQ+ community, I also know self-education is essential. Equally, as a mother of two young children, I want our boys to understand every friend and every family is unique and we should appreciate the differences and diversity and treat everyone equally with respect. It starts with pride in yourself and fostering conscious inclusion for everyone – regardless of whether it’s in the playground, in the workplace or the great big world we live in!”
Roman Murgas, Director Sales, NOAM, and a global lead for the LGBTQ+ ERG, added:
“People in the LGBTQ+ community have been and are still fighting for respect and often basic rights. Even now, 50 years since the first Pride event took place, there are still countries where people get jailed, beaten or even murdered simply because of who they are. For this reason, the community, and the allies that support us, need an event, an occasion to celebrate a long journey we’ve been on, to remember all those who suffered and died for our cause, and those who suffer still. As in previous year’s, the month of Pride at Tate & Lyle culminates in a global virtual event, which brings colleagues from every region, team and level of seniority together to celebrate the differences that make us all unique, and allow for experience and history sharing, access to external speakers, as well as light-hearted activities and celebration! By growing our confidence and competence through training and conversations in safe spaces, we believe we can create sustainable change for a more inclusive, equitable workplace and world."
Senior leaders must set the tone and create safe spaces away from the bustle of day-to-day work for people to connect, share, challenge and learn. It was in that spirit that, in April this year, we made a commitment that by 2025, employees, managers and leadership will spend 10, 15 and 20 hours each respectively on equity, diversity, and inclusion training.
For more information on what Equity, Diversity and Inclusion means to us at Tate & Lyle, visit: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion | Tate & Lyle